Located at the base of Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna is one of Costa Rica’s top visited destinations. The small city is located less than 20 kilometers from the entrance to Arenal Volcano National Park and provides picturesque views of this stunning Costa Rican landmark. For budget accommodation near Arenal volcano, I recommend staying at a Costa Rica Hostels property.
Arenal is perhaps the most famous of Costa Rica’s six active volcanoes. Despite its recent period of dormancy, is the most active volcano in Costa Rica in the past 43 years. The National Park offers hiking trails that get you up close to the volcano’s cone and lava from prior eruptions.
La Fortuna is also home to a variety of tour operators that provide access to fun activities such as zip lining, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, wildlife spotting and guided nature hikes.
With plenty of budget accommodation, dining options and tour operators, La Fortuna makes a great home base for backpackers wishing to visit to the natural wonders found in the vicinity.
Costa Rica Hostels
Budget accommodation near Arenal Volcano is plentiful, but I personally recommend staying at one of the two Costa Rica Hostels properties. This company has two properties in La Fortuna as well as two hostels in Monteverde, the famous cloud forest, and one in Tamarindo, a beach town in the North Pacific.
The Costa Rica Hostels brand is unique from other hostels in the country because of their resources for local tours and transportation. The reception areas of all hostels are full of pictures and ideas for things to do in the area, and the staff can easily help you find a tour that is right for you at a price that will fit your budget. The staff of Costa Rica Hostels is also up to speed with transportation options throughout Costa Rica and to Nicaragua.
Arenal Hostel Resort
During my recent visit to La Fortuna, I had the opportunity to spend two nights at Arenal Hostel Resort in a private room. From the moment I entered the hostel’s secure gates to find hammocks, a covered patio and a pool (with a swim up bar), I knew this hostel was going to be the perfect place to relax after hiking around the volcano.
This hostel won the award for Best Hostel in Costa Rica from Hostel World in 2014 and also received a certificate of excellence from Trip Advisor in the same year.
Arenal Hostel Resort is located in the heart of La Fortuna, within walking distance to a variety of restaurants, souvenir shops and a grocery store. It is also across the street from the charming La Fortuna Church and a beautiful park.
La Fortuna is a short drive from top rated activities and natural wonders such as La Fortuna waterfall, Baldi hot springs and the Arenal Hanging Bridges.
Arenal Hostel Resort has ensuite dorms as well as ensuite private rooms. The 6-bed dorm rooms come with air conditioning and hot water, prices start at $16 per night.
During my visit, I stayed in a private double ensuite. The room had two comfortable full beds, a nightstand, television and air conditioning. The private bathroom had hot water and a spacious shower.
I found the room to be very comfortable and quiet at night. During the daytime, the hostel plays music at the bar, but La Fortuna is full of early risers eager to explore the area’s natural wonders, and the music ended at an early hour.
The rooms are cleaned every day, and towels are available for just a $10 deposit. Private single, triple and quadruple rooms are also available, starting at $22 per person, per night.
The grounds were my favorite part of this hostel. During my visit I was in the middle of rereading one of my favorite books, and hanging chairs and hammocks provided plenty of spaces to relax and read.
Most of the hostel grounds are uncovered, letting in plenty of sunlight, but there are also plenty of nooks and hanging chairs that are covered to enjoy during Costa Rica’s frequent rainy afternoons.
In addition to a kitchen, the hostel also has a restaurant on sight that is reasonably priced. You’ll be pressed to find drinks cheaper in town than the ones offered at the bar here, and what could be better than swimming up to the bar and ordering a beer?
The hostel is decorated with animals that give it a homey and fun feel. There is a computer available in addition to free Internet, and a book exchange corner.
Hostel Backpackers La Fortuna
Another great option for budget accommodation near Arenal Volcano is Hostel Backpackers La Fortuna, located just a block away from its sister property. Guests at either property are given a wristband that allows them to access the amenities and grounds of either hostel.
During my visit to La Fortuna I also visited this property. I found it to have a very mellow and laid-back vibe with spacious gardens, patios and a large animal encrusted fountain. Though it seemed to be the quieter of the two hostels, this property has a bar as well. Prices and room offerings here are similar to Arenal Hostel Resort.
Enjoy La Fortuna!
With my accommodation selection out of the way I had plenty of time to explore La Fortuna. Here are some of my favorite activities I did during my visit:
- Drive to Arenal Volcano National Park
- Relax in the warm waters of Baldi Hot Springs
- Cross the Arenal Hanging Bridges
- Spot unique wildlife such as a Kudamundi
- Enjoy a pizza at Pizzeria Luigi